Make Your Celery Last Longer!

celery saver

Do you buy celery for a recipe and then have to toss it because it goes bad before you use it again? Does it get wilted and soft and lose its crispiness too soon for you? I have a tip for you that really works in saving that celery! {I sound like a commercial, I know, but I love this tip.}

I know it’s a pain to have to do anything to your produce when you get home from grocery shopping, especially if you shop for a large family. Try to do this within a day of buying your celery if you don’t do it right away. See? Not so hard.

Start by chopping off the ends and washing each stalk.

celery cut

Dry each stalk with a paper towel or clean kitchen towel.

Grab a big piece of foil and stack up the celery in a nice, neat pile.

celery washed

Fold over the sides, and wrap it up tightly.

celery wrapping

If your celery isn’t completely covered, you can add another piece. You just want it completely covered and tight!

celery wrapped

Refrigerate and enjoy a longer celery relationship. Ahhh…

I do this every time I buy celery. I think it doubles the life of it. I hated tossing that rubbery celery all the time. Sometimes I’d leave it out of recipes just because I didn’t want to buy it for just a few stalks when I knew the rest would be useless. Plus, my daughter loves to munch on it and it’s good to have it handy for a snack. {Bonus tip: Eating celery is good for constipation!}

Micha

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Homemade Turkey Soup

Homemade Turkey Soup

Did I ever mention I love to make soup? Not only is it comfort food on a cold, winter day, but the process of chopping up the ingredients and building layers of flavor is so much fun to me. Everybody in the pool! It’s so easy to do and it’s hard to mess up.

A day before I made the turkey soup, I put two turkey thighs (on the bone) in my slow cooker, seasoned them, added a little chicken broth (about 1 cup), and cooked them several hours on low. I refrigerated them until I was ready to make the soup the following day. {Save that yucky congealed broth…You’ll add it to the soup.} You can certainly use any leftover turkey you have if you cooked one recently! I’d recommend sticking with the dark meat for more flavor, though.

The wonderful thing about soup is that you add in what you like and leave out what you don’t like! I’ll tell you what I add in mine and you go from there. Let me mention that I prefer my soup a little thicker, or chunkier, rather than with too much broth. (Doesn’t Rachael Ray call that “stoup”?) Simply add more broth or water if you want more broth. Just make sure to keep tasting it to see if you need more seasoning.

Homemade Turkey Soup by Micha
Ingredients:
2 turkey thighs – seasoned, cooked, meat removed from bones, and cut up or shredded
3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1 large onion (I like to use sweet or yellow)
8 carrots (not the baby carrots) – peeled and chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
12 oz. of fresh green beans, cut up*
2 large cloves of garlic, minced (or grated in with microplane like I do)
2 cartons (32 oz. each) of chicken broth, or turkey broth if you can find it
2-4 cups water, depending on how you like your soup
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt-free garlic and herb seasoning
1 tsp. dried parsley
1  1/2 cups uncooked Ditalini pasta
Salt and pepper to taste
*Any other veggies or additions you prefer. I like to add some frozen corn when I add the pasta.

Directions:
1. Grab a big pot and add your oil, heating it over medium to medium-high heat.
2. While that’s heating, chop up your onion and add it to the pot.
3. Chop carrots and add them to the pot. Keep stirring as you add ingredients.
4. Chop up the celery and add it to the pot.
5. Make sure you are stirring the veggies around so they all get coated with the oil and don’t burn.
6. Cut up the fresh green beans and add them in. If you don’t use fresh green beans and use frozen or canned, add them in with the pasta.
7. Add in the minced garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Stir!
8. When your veggies are softened a bit, add in that turkey “broth” that you have leftover from cooking the thighs. If you refrigerated it, it will be like a gelatin consistency. Gross, but adds flavor!
9. Pour in 2 cartons of chicken or turkey broth (total of 64 oz.).
10. Add in a few cups of water depending on how you like your soup. I add in about 2-3 cups, but you can add 4.
11. Bring to a boil.
12. While you are waiting for the boil, add in your shredded or cut up turkey.
13. Add paprika, garlic and herb seasoning, and the parsley.
14. Let simmer for about 30 minutes or more, and then add in about 1  1/2 cups Ditalini pasta (or any small pasta). Now is also when you can add frozen or canned veggies if desired, like some corn. Simmer for about 15 minutes more.
15. Taste the soup and season with salt and pepper to taste.

P.S. My daughter who doesn’t care so much for pasta loves this soup. She says it’s the Ditalini!

I’m about to go have some leftover soup for lunch now! Hope you try it!
Micha

Spicy Sweet Potatoes

If you enjoy a combination of sweet and spicy, you will love this tasty side dish. I’ve been making my sweet potatoes like this for about 10 years and they are still a favorite! Even those that don’t really like things spicy appreciate them this way. The brown sugar really balances out the chili powder and cayenne pepper, while the roasting melds the flavors together to bring happiness to your mouth!

If my memory serves me right, I believe I found this recipe many years ago from a Taste of Home magazine that I had at the time. I changed it slightly and copied it into my recipe booklet. It was definitely a keeper and one I use at most holidays. It’s so easy and you’ll find it’s a go-to side dish for you as well…

{Recipe follows photos}

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Start by peeling 3 large sweet potatoes or yams (about 2 1/2 lbs.) Cut them in half lengthwise and place flat side down on your cutting board.

Now slice each half into 4 or 5 pieces.

Cut slices into cubes/chunks.

Throw all the chunks into a large resealable bag and add 4 tablespoons of olive oil (or canola oil). Seal bag and shake to coat the potatoes well. Add in the brown sugar, chili powder, salt, and cayenne pepper. With bag sealed well, toss to coat the potatoes so the spices are distributed evenly.

Transfer potatoes to a baking dish and bake, uncovered, for 40-45 minutes or until tender. You will need to stir them up every 15 minutes, so they bake evenly. Serve and enjoy! (They are really yummy heated up the next day as well!)

Spicy Sweet Potatoes
Ingredients:
3 large sweet potatoes or yams (about 2 1/2 lbs.)
4 tablespoons olive oil or canola oil
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I use 1/2 tsp., but you might want to try it first with 1/4 tsp. depending on your taste)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel and cut potatoes into chunks about 1 inch. Put into a large resealable bag and add oil. Shake to coat evenly. Add the brown sugar, chili powder, salt, and cayenne pepper and shake the bag to coat potatoes evenly. Transfer to a baking dish and bake in oven for 40-45 minutes or until potatoes are tender, stirring them every 15 minutes so they cook evenly.

Enjoy…
~Micha